Schizophrenia affects approximately 1% of people aged 65 and over. The symptoms of schizophrenia usually appear between the ages of 15 and 35 years. There are a range of symptoms that may or may not be experienced by individual sufferers. The number of older people with chronic mental illness is likely to increase as life expectancy increases. There have been many advances in knowledge and therapies in the area of mental health care in the past 50 years. The emergence of evidence based practice; changes in government policy and shifting community attitudes have all been beneficial. But the reality for many older people with mental illness is that they are mis-diagnosed, not diagnosed at all and often receive ineffective care. The rates of suicide for men over 85 years are the highest for any male aged group. Suicide rates in older women are the same as across other aged groups. There are older people in the community and in residential aged care who were institutionalised because of their mental illness. Those people carry the triple burden of their illness, inappropriate and inhumane treatment, confinement and old age.